Tangerine Dreams and Stranger Things



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But how then is it that we perceive an ordered flow of events from future state to past state?  Why, to be flippant, is Tuesday, October 8, 1958 not followed by Friday, November 9, 1989, or Monday, July 10, 663?  The answer, I feel, lies in the word perceive.  Certainly, both future and past, as states, potential domains, are contained within the present: all possible events await selection, and are mathematically equally likely.  What selects these events and parades them before us in the temporal order we understand of future to present to past, in a continuous and ordered flow, must be nothing other than human consciousness.  Consciousness itself may be nothing more than a veil that filters future from present to past, that shuts out the inconceivable anarchy of all possible events and reduces it to our familiar linear time sense.
If, then, the present is a function of our consciousness, therefore the past must also, in a sense, be a figment of our imaginations.  By selecting an order for events, we select therefore also the order in which they pass from present state to past state.
I have this dread that afflicts me in the dead of night: it is that somehow, we have lost the power to generate new mythologies for a technological age.  We are withdrawing into another age's mythotypes, an age where the issues were so much simpler, clearly defined, and could be solved with one stroke of a sword called something like Durththane.  We have created a comfortable, sanitized pseudofeudal world of trolls and orcs and mages and swords and sorcery, big breasted women in scanty armour and dungeonmasters; a world where evil is a host of angry goblins threatening to take over Hobbitland and not starvation in the Horn of Africa, child slavery in Filipino sweatshops, Colombian drug squirarchs, unbridled free market forces, secret police, the destruction of the ozone layer, child pornography, snuff videos, the death of the whales, and the desecration of the rain forests.

Where is the mythic archetype who will save us from ecological catastrophe, or credit card debt?  Where are the Sagas and Eddas of the Great Cities?  Where are our Cuchulains and Rolands and Arthurs?  Why do we turn back to these simplistic heroes of simplistic days, when black was black and white biological washing-powder white?

Where are the Translators who can shape our dreams and dreads, our hopes and fears, into the heroes and villains of the Oil Age?
—Ian McDonald, King of Morning, Queen of Day



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copyright 1994–2013 by Todd West
last modified 2013.02.07